Monday, July 7, 2008

Fruit Frenzy Round Up!

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Fresh summer fruits are always welcomed at picnics, cookouts, summertime holidays, etc. Even more special are fruits used as a centerpiece! Today we got together and created some beautiful & delicious fruit bouquets... almost too pretty to eat. (Picture above is from Edible Arrangements, which served as the inspiration for this event!)

To make edible fruit bouquets, you'll need some sturdy fruits, wooden bamboo skewers, a small head of cabbage and a small bowl or clay/plastic pot. For some simple step by step instructions & tips, you can refer to this site.

The fruits I've chosen to use for our bouquets include: strawberries, cantelope, honeydew, red & green grapes, red & yellow watermelon and pineapples. They hold their shape and color well both indoors and outdoors, and threading them onto skewers was easy to do.

To add to the presentation of the bouquet, we used small plastic flower pots. You can pick these up at your local hardware or craft store. To keep the skewers in place, a small head of cabbage (cut in half or to fit) was used and placed inside the flower pot. I had the best luck with cabbage because it can stand up to the weight of the fruit on the skewers.

Sometimes, the fruit may slip off the skewer (especially if its super ripe and soft or just stubborn to stay put) and to help keep them in place, a slice of raw corn helps. This was what we used to keep the pineapple flowers in place and it's not visible at all. Below are pictures of the event and don't forget to read about the corresponding Fruit Frenzy blogging event!

The Set Up:


Prepping Our Fruits:


All the bright colors:



Our Colorful & Fruity Bouquets!

To join in on our fun are some bloggers who shared some great fruit recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event's winner is Bethany of This Little Piggy Went to Market! Bethany will be receiving a Crinkle Cutter which we used to create a fruit bouquet, cut up potatoes for crinkle fries, use on vegetables for an attactive crudite platter, and so much more. Congratulations Bethany and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the fruity recipes submitted...

Seared Salmon w/Kiwi Mango Salsa
submitted by Lalaine of The Cook Mobile
from California
4 salmon steaks, around 4 oz each
vegetable oil
salt and pepper

Kiwi-Mango Salsa
2 pcs mango, peeled and diced (discarding bone)
6 to 7 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 to 2 serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper

Season salmon steak with salt and pepper to taste.
In a pan or skillet, heat vegetable oil.
Sear sides of salmon steaks until lightly browned,a round 5 minutes each side.
Remove from heat and keep warm.
Meanwhile, prepare fruits, cilantro, onion and chili as directed.
In a non-metallic bowl, combine well.
Mix in juice of lemon.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Spoon on top of fish and serve immediately.

Cantelope & Bocconcini
submitted by Becke of Columbus Foodie
recipe from Everyday Food Magazine
1 cantaloupe, scooped into 1-inch balls (about 3 cups)
8 ounces bocconcini
2 to 3 thin slices ham or prosciutto
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup torn mint leaves

In a large bowl, combine 1 ripe cantaloupe, scooped into 1-inch balls with a melon baller (about 3 cups), 8 ounces bocconcini (small fresh-mozzarella balls) or fresh mozzarella cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups), 2 to 3 thin slices ham or prosciutto, cut into strips, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Toss with 1/4 cup torn mint leaves, and serve immediately.

Orange Pie
submitted by Ivy of Kopiaste... To Greek Hospitality
from Athens, Greece
Ingredients for Pastry Cream:
Preparation time: 10'
6 cups of fresh low fat milk
6 spoonfuls of flour and corn flour (corn starch).
8 spoonfuls of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
5 egg yolks
1 spoonful of butter (optional)

Ingredients for Meringue:
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon orange essence
2 – 3 teaspoons of icing sugar
½ cup of roasted pecans (optional)

Additional Ingredients:
1 orange (both zest and fruit)
4 1/2 glasses of liquid (3 glasses pure orange juice and 1 1/2 glass of water)
12 sheets of gelatine
2 spoonfuls of honey (depending on how sweet the oranges are)

I dissolved the gelatine with 1 glass of water and then I added 1/2 a glass of hot water. I stirred in the orange juice and added the honey and tasted it to see if it was sweet.

Putting the dessert together.
After placing the meringue in a rectangular bowl, I added the cream and after making sure that the cream had spread evenly and there were no gaps on the side of the bowl I put it aside until it cooled down.

Meanwhile I prepared the jelly and when I was sure the cream was cold I added the jelly spoon by spoon. This is essential because if you pour the jelly all at once, the cream will probably crack and the jelly will leak down. I placed it in the refrigerator until it started to set (about 1 1/2 hours). Then I peeled the same orange I took the zest from, which I cut into thin slices and decorated the dessert.

No preservatives, no food colouring, I made the cream with low fat milk and to my opinion it was delicious and I consider that this is also a healthy dessert.

Blueberry Crumb Cake
submitted by Lindsay of Noodle Nights & Muffin Mornings
from New York
recipe inspired by Martha Stewart
For the streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

Watermelon & Basil Salad
submitted by Kelly of Kelly Cooks & Other Amazing Feats
from Pennsylvania
1 medium seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup basil leaves, cut chiffonade style
1 log of chevre (I replaced with fresh mozzarella)

In a large bowl, toss to combine the watermelon, lime juice, and half the basil
Divide onto four plates, scatter pinches of chevre and the remaining basil on top.

Lemon Lush
submitted by Geriann of Toby's Treats
from Pennsylvania
recipe from Carrie's Sweet Life
1 container cool-whip
1 pkg. cream cheese
4 c. milk
3 sm. packages instant lemon pudding
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter

Mix the butter and flour together and spread into a non stick 9 x 13 baking pan.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool completly.

Mix cream cheese, 1 c. cool whip, and powdered sugar together. Spread on top of cooled crust.
Beat pudding mix and milk together until it starts to thicken pour over cream cheese layer.

Cover with rest of the coolwhip. Chill until you serve.

Basil Cinnamon Peaches
submitted by Jessica of Wow, It's My Baking Heart
from Texas
recipe from EatingWell.com
1-1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
3 strips lemon zest, 1″x2″ strips
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick, 3″ piece
3 ripe, but firm medium peaches, halved lengthwise & pitted (I used 5!!)
1/2 c packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Combine water, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and cinnamon stick in a large non-reactive saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Add peach halves. Return to a brisk simmer, cover the pan and simmer, turning the peaches occasionally, until they are tender when pierced with a skewer or paring knife and the skins are loosened, about 20-25 minutes (depending on the ripeness of the peaches). Transfer the peaches to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Return the liquid to a boil and cook until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the basil and let cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes.

Slip off and discard the peach skins. Place the peaches in a storage container and pour the cooled syrup over them. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Key Lime Pie
submitted by Erin of Dinner & Dessert
from South Carolina
recipe from Cook's Illustrated, March 1997
Lime Filling
4 teaspoons grated lime zest
½ cup lime juice from 3 to 4 limes
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Graham Cracker Crust
11 graham crackers, processed to fine crumbs (1 ¼ cups)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whipped Cream Topping
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ lime, sliced paper thin and dipped in sugar (optional)

For the Filling: Whisk zest and yolks in medium bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes. Beat in milk, then juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken.

For the Crust: Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix crumbs and sugar in medium bowl. Add butter; stir with fork until well blended. Pour mixture into 9-inch pie pan; press crumbs over bottom and up sides of pan to form even crust. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Pour lime filling into crust; bake until center is set, yet wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes. Return pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. (Can be covered with lightly oiled or oil-sprayed plastic wrap laid directly on filling and refrigerated up to 1 day.)

For the Whipped Cream: Up to 2 hours before serving, whip cream in medium bowl to very soft peaks. Adding confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, continue whipping to just-stiff peaks. Decoratively pipe whipped cream over filling or spread evenly with rubber spatula. Garnish with optional sugared lime slices and serve.

Slow Berry Cobbler
submitted by Courtney of Prescription for Good Food
from Westerville, OH
recipe from Paula Deen
For the fruit filling:
2 12 oz bags of frozen berry medley
2 fresh peaches
1 cup fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking mix

For the topping:
1 cup baking mix
1 cup regular quick cook oats
2 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix fruit ingredients and place in slow cooker.
In separate bowl mix topping mixture and place on top of fruit.
Cook on high for 3 hours. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Peanut Butter & Banana French Toast
submitted by Melissa of Mrs. Sac's Purple Kitchen
from Murfreesboro, TN
recipe from AllRecipes.com
1 egg1 dash vanilla extract
2 tablespoons creamy peanutbutter
2 slices bread
1 small banana, sliced
2 tablespoons butter

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and vanilla together.

Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on top of each slice of bread. Place the banana slices on top of one of the slices of bread. Place the other slice of bread on top of the first, to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

In a skillet or frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture and place in the heated skillet. Cook until brown on both sides. Serve hot.

Chicken Georgia
submitted by Celeste of Sugar & Spice
from Trussville, AL
recipe inspired by a cafe in Huntville, AL
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup orange juice
3 fresh, sliced peaches
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and brown on both sides...until chicken is almost cooked through (it will continue cooking in next step). Remove from skillet and place on a plate.

Next, add a little more EVOO to the skillet if needed; add garlic and saute for 30 seconds...be careful not to burn it! Combine orange juice and peaches with brown sugar, cinnamon, and basil and add to skillet. Return chicken to the mixture. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Place chicken on a plate, placing the peach mixture over each chicken breast. Top with chopped pecans.

Orange Cream Pie
submitted by Lauren of Lauren's Kitchen
from New Jersey
PIE CRUST
3/4 cup crushed vanilla wafers or vanilla wafer crumbs
3/4 cup crushed graham wafers or graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

FILLING
1 (2 3/4 ounce) packet orange flavor gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange extract, divided
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
TOPPING
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 (10 fluid ounce) can mandarin orange segments, well drained
1/4 cup grated sweetened chocolate

PIE CRUST
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine crushed vanilla wafers, crushed graham wafers and finely chopped pecans; mix well.Add margarine or butter and blend using a pastry blender or a fork.Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.Prepare a 9 inch oven-proof pie dish by lightly spraying with a vegetable oil.Dust with 1 tablespoon of flour.Shake off any excess flour off pie plate (The spray and flour will prevent the shell from sticking to the pie dish).Spoon wafer mixture into pie dish; press evenly to bottom and sides using a rounded soup spoon.Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 10 minutes.Remove from oven and let cool.

FILLING
In a medium-size mixing bowl, dissolve orange jello powder with 1 cup of boiling water.Add 1/2 cup of cold water and let cool for about 15 minutes.Add concentrated orange juice, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract and stir well to mix.Place in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until just partially set; DO NOT LET HARDEN. Remove from freezer and break up the jelly mixture using a whisk.In a 2 cup measuring cup, add 1/2 cup whipping cream and using an electric mixer, beat until cream slightly thickens.Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until thickened.Add whipped cream to the jelly and fold in, (DO NOT BEAT).Pour mixture into the cooled pie shell.Place pie in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until pie filling is set.

TOPPING
In a 2 cup measuring cup add 1/2 cup whipping cream and using an electric mixer, beat until slightly thickened.Add orange extract and gradually add powdered sugar and continue beating until thickened.Before serving pie, spread whipped cream over entire top of pie.Place and arrange orange segments on top of whipped cream creating a pattern if desired.Sprinkle with grated sweetened chocolate.Serve pie chilled, not frozen.

Strawberry Bread Pudding
submitted by Joelen of Joelen's Culinary Adventures
from Chicago, IL
recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com

4-5 dinner rolls, a few days old; cubed
4 eggs + 5 egg whites (optional)**
5 cups half & half
1 12oz can strawberry nectar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla paste or extract
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Generously butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange the cubed rolls in the dish to fill it completely.

Add the strawberry slices and frozen berries to the cubed rolls and carefully toss together. The berries should be distributed equally throughout. It may not look like it will all fit, but stay with me!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs & 5 egg whites, half & half, strawberry nectar, white sugar, and vanilla. Pour the liquid over the bread and berries, and let it sit for about 15-30 minutes. Press down the top with a spatula occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the bread pudding for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden, and the middle is firm.

** So to explain the addition of 5 egg whites (which is completely optional), I also planned on making another recipe the same day calling for 5 egg yolks. To prevent wasting them or figuring out how to use 5 leftover egg whites, I added them to the bread pudding recipe above.

Watermelon Sorbet
submitted by Joelen of Joelen's Culinary Adventures
from Chicago, IL
recipe from Alton Brown

1 pound, 5 ounces diced watermelon, muskmelon or honeydew
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Vodka (I used Absolut)
9 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups

Place the melon in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, vodka, and sugar and process for another 30 seconds. Place the mixture into the refrigerator until the mixture reaches 40 degrees F; depending on the temperature of your ingredients and refrigerator, this could take 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Pour the chilled mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Bananas Foster with Berries
submitted by Bethany of This Little Piggy Went to Market
from Orange Beach, AL
recipe inspired by Brennan's Restaurant

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur *omitted
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
1/4 cup dark rum *We used Bacardi Anejo.
Your choice of fresh berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet.

Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.

When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, throw in your favorite berries, fresh or frozen, after the bananas have been cooking for a couple minutes. Then carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum.

When the flames subside, lift the bananas and berries out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately. Serves 4

Sweet Biscuits with Orange and Cherries
submitted by Bethany of This Little Piggy Went to Market
from Orange Beach, AL
recipe inspiration from Martha Stewart
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk, I used 2%
1-2 teaspoons orange zest, to your taste
handful of dried cherries or cranberries, to your taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a measuring cup, stir milk, yogurt, and orange zest together. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Fold yogurt mixture into dry ingredients until dough just comes together. Toss in cherries or cranberries and gently fold into dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat dough gently until about 1 inch thick.

Cut dough into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet with a nonstick mat or parchment paper and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Makes about 6-8 biscuits.

Peach Cobbler
submitted by Katie of Salt & Chocolate
from Aurora, IL
recipe from Kristen of Dine & Dish
Filling -
4 cups of ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Batter -
6 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups of AP Flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the 3 ingredients in the filling and set aside. In an 8 inch baking dish place the butter pieces and place in the oven until the butter melts. While it is melting combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl mix together the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until everything is moistened. Remove the pan from the oven and spoon the batter over the butter spreading evenly but not stiring. Spoon the filling over the top and gently press in the peaches. Bake for 35-40 minutes and then sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Fat-Free Frozen Mango Yogurt
submitted by Isha of Isha's Kitchen
from Houston, TX
Non-fat yogurt 1 1/2 cup
Mangoes 2 cups
Mint leaves 1/4th cup
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Strawberry jam 3 tbsp
Cocoa 1 tsp
Sugar to taste ~1-4 tsp
Puree the above frozen mix in a blender with the remaining ingredients,except the sugar.
Blend them thoroughly.
Taste and add in as much sugar as per your taste.
Pour the mixture into a container and put it in a freezer.When serving remove from the frozen curd from the freezer and let it stand for 15-20 minutes at room temperature or else it will be too hard.

Fresh Strawberry Tart
submitted by Victoria of Oooh... Cake!
from Melbourne, Australia
tart crust recipe adapted Sharing Sweet Secrets by Pamela Moriarty

8 tbsp white rice flour
2 tbsp almond meal
2 tbsp coconut flour (may replace with rice flour)
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp potato starch
1/4 cup cornflour
2 tbsp glutinous rice flour
1 tbsp gf custard powder (optional)
2 tbsp caster sugar
50g coconut oil (it will be hard, straight from the fridge)
30ml grapeseed oil
1 egg

1) Place flours, custard powder and sugar into a food processor and whizz.
2) Add in coconut oil (hardened) and oil and whizz again (10-15 seconds)
3) crack egg into the food processor bowl and pulse until combined. It may look wet but keep whizzing. Add 1 tbsp coconut flour if too wet.
4) Add 1-2 drops of water IF NECESSARY
5) Remove pastry from food processor and press* into prepared tin. (20 or 22 cm tin)
6) Freeze in tin for 10-15 minutes before baking at 190 degrees celcius for 18-22 minutes or until cooked through.
7) Cool before filling with strawberries.

* My pastry was too wet from the oil to be rolled out.

To Assemble:
1-250g punnet of large strawberries
3 tbsp raspberry jam, warmed.

1) Remove stems of berries and halve. Arrange on top of baked tart shell and glaze with raspberry jam. Serve chilled or warm. =)

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